Report from Exile - Photographs by Fred Stein

German Historical Museum

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©Fred Stein Archive

In its exhibition "Report from Exile – Photographs by Fred Stein", the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum) presents the German-American photographer Fred Stein (1909–1967), whose extensive photographic oeuvre is inextricably linked to the themes of emigration and exile. As a Jew born in Dresden, he was dismissed from the judicial service of Saxony in June 1933 and had to flee Germany in autumn 1933. While living in exile in Paris, he began to earn money by taking portrait and press photographs, eventually joining the ranks of the many self-taught photographers of Jewish origin. After fleeing again in 1941, this time to New York, Stein continued to work in portrait photography, with a special interest in portraits of writers. In his own words, he built up “the largest collection of photos of such authors [emigrants] that a photographer has ever taken himself”.

In parallel to this historical aspect, the exhibition traces Stein's progress in his new profession with the help of numerous press and street photos, publications and documents. In selected cases, it shows how Stein, who had completed his law studies in Leipzig in 1930, later had to fight to assert his copyright in order to earn a living and support his family. There is a special focus on the work that Stein produced in Paris and on the subject of exile. The political and cultural context is illustrated with documents and objects from the collections of the Deutsches Historisches Museum and other archives, relating to the activities of German-speaking emigrants in Paris.

The exhibition is curated by Ulrike Kuschel.

German Historical Museum
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